Should A Chainsaw Chain Move Freely?

Should A Chainsaw Chain Move Freely

Using a chainsaw might seem very easy but with time you will get to know the complexities of using it. The chain of the chainsaw has to be adjusted every time you start cutting with it. Lubricating and placement of the chain can be very crucial. I did my research and wrote an article on the chain’s movement in a chainsaw. You can read the article carefully to understand how to tighten and loosen up the chain for safe cutting operations.

Should A Chainsaw Chain Move Freely?

The chain of the chainsaw has to be fixed tightly to get the job done but it should be able to move if you pull it with your hands. If you leave the chain to move freely it will eventually come off after a round or two. This can be very dangerous as the chain is sharp and can cause serious injuries. The teeth are pointed and have different shapes to get the job done. Initially, the chain of the chainsaw is fixed but it will get loose because of heat.

A Chainsaw Chain Move Freely

The chain should be able to move freely if you use your hands but it should be placed onto the chainsaw perfectly before all the cutting tasks. As a beginner, you have to understand the working mechanism of the chain that is fixed onto the chainsaw. When working continuously, the chain heats up and expands because of friction. After leaving it for some time, the chain will cool down and stretch back to its original shape.

Even though the chain of the chainsaw will change back to its original shape, it will wear off with time. The excessive use of the chainsaw will repeat the process of heating and cooling the chain after every cycle, so the chain will eventually wear off with time. You might not get the expected results after a few months of constant cutting cycles. The pressure and the friction caused by cutting the wood will let the chain loose and it ends up moving freely.

I have mentioned above that chainsaws have to be fixed properly but you should be able to move them. When working with a chainsaw, you might not have an idea about the slack of the chain in a chainsaw. After doing my research and trying it out, I figured that a chain should be able to move half an inch in the backward and forward directions. The chain won’t be able to cut the wood pieces if this slack is not present.

How To Tighten Or Loosen the Chain?

Every chainsaw has a small screw near the bar or the handle of the chainsaw. This screw can be used if the chain is too tight and you want to lose it up a bit. You can also use the same small screw to tighten the chain.

How To Tighten Or Loosen the Chain

If you move it in an anti-clockwise direction, the screw will tighten up the chain whereas if you move it clockwise, the chain will get loose. You have to make sure you are moving the chain in the right direction to avoid any damage. Have a look at how to put back a chainsaw chain.

How To Maintain the Chain Of A Chainsaw?

It is essential to maintain the chain of your chainsaw so that it is able to perform according to your expectations. The chain will get loose and then stretch back but you have to maintain it with time. It is mandatory to lubricate the chain twice a week if you use the chainsaw regularly. This helps in protecting the teeth of the chain and retains the shape. The useful life of the chainsaw’s chain is also increased by lubrication and maintenance on time.

How To Maintain the Chain Of A Chainsaw

Pull Test

The professionals use two methods to check if the chain is fixed properly or not. A pull and snap test can be done to check the chain of the chainsaw before using it for cutting projects. It might be clear from the name that in a pull test you have to pull out a drive link with your hand. Estimate the chain that comes out by pulling it. If the chain is half an inch out, then the chainsaw is ready to use. Whereas if you notice more than half an inch of the chain coming out by a pull, you have to tighten it by moving the screw.

Snap Test

In a snap test, you have to notice the position of the chain after you pull it out. If the chain comes out initially but goes back to its original position, then your chainsaw is ready to use. At this time the chain is fixed perfectly and safe to use for all cutting operations. Whereas if the chain does not go back to its place, you have to tighten it. The placement of the chainsaw’s chain is very important to avoid any kind of injury.


Why is the chain on my chainsaw not moving?

The chain on your chainsaw might not be moving because it might be too tight or faulty. You have to make sure the chain is fixed but leaving a slack of half an inch is very important.

Can you overtighten the chainsaw chain?

Yes, you can over-tighten a chainsaw chain by using the screw that is located at the bottom of the chainsaw near the bar. You need to leave a space of almost half an inch for the chain to move freely.

How do I know if my chainsaw is dull?

You might notice the chainsaw producing some smoke and dust when cutting the wood. This even happens after you have lubricated the chain well. It is an indication that your chainsaw is dull and has to be replaced.


A brief article on should a chainsaw chain move freely is given above for your help and guidance. You have to maintain the chain of your chainsaw at any cost to get the desired outcome. Whether the chain is too loose or tight, you might end up hurting yourself when using the chainsaw. It is very much important to know the slack that you have to leave to maintain the chain. I hope this article was helpful and gave you information about the correct chain placement on the chainsaw.

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